Could my DC have aspergers?

(38 Posts)
GoggotsandNanas Wed 15-May-13 11:43:18

I know it is weird to post here rather than seeking professional help, but I was never worried about her before- its her speech that worries me now , because other people can't (my family) can't understand her, and now I'm starting to view other behaviours differently- such as her fixations.

She is just over 3 and a half and tries to speak in really long sentences when she is excited by seeing someone. There will be a lot of garbled together words about what she'd recently been doing, emotional words, references to children's programmes, etc in the one 'sentence' - and the person will look flummoxed.

Another thing is her being quite particular about the way she likes certain things to be - for example being upset if people sit in the wrong chairs or use each-other's mobile phones, and other things like needing a particular cup or a particular spoon or wanting to put her clothes on in a particular order- but these fixations aren't constant and change over time.

She can start crying and shouting rather than asking properly for things sometimes (particularly when tired/hungry/etc). She has tantrums, but I've never really thought they were that bad, she just wants her way - I am able usually to get her to calm down and explain what she wants.

She is very sociable and excited about people, she can be quite dramatic and theatrical, but can be quite bossy with her friends and controlling about exactly how things should be set out (she gets annoyed if I move anything I tidy up, for example if I pick up a toy from the middle of the floor, when I walk back past it will be placed back in the same spot). She is incredibly affectionate with people - and I wonder if this is a sign, because she is even like this when people are awkward and uptight- she doesn't read the signals and gives them a hug.

She has advanced motor skills like colouring and writing letters very neatly, she started walking very early too. She can get very absorbed in drawing to the point where she won't hear me if I try to get her attention (TBF I am like this when I concentrate too).

She prefers to work things out rather than being taught- although is getting better now, so she doesn't do that thing of copying the correct word to get it right, which would help to improve her speech. Is this another sign?

Her nursery haven't said anything about it, they just tell me when they notice improvements in speech, which would suggest they are concerned she is slow.

Any thought appreciated

Thanks

HotheadPaisan Sat 18-May-13 20:07:56

It's not a label though, it's a description of a neurocognitive difference. I don't think expectations are any lower for DS1 but life is very difficult for him. Would be even worse if he'd been excluded by now, which he could have been several times and been relieved about, he's just 7. Not sure where you go with that in terms of just force/expect/instil compliance, and make no adaptations, he wouldn't be in school, then what?

Mumngran... I get where your dd is coming from to a certain degree as I'm an adult with very aspie traits. I only realised recently due to my sons' dx and researching ASD that my own behaviour stems from the same neurological issues.

I agree that being forced ti function up and not having allowances made has been a positive thing for me in certain respects. A few points I'd like to make though;

1 girls present very differently to boys, and it's been shown we are far better at learning expected social behaviours and mimicking appropriate responses. As a result girls often fly under the radar and go undiagnosed. It does not however negate the difficulties we experience and some understanding as a child would have improved my life massively.

2 there are massive differences in presentation of ASD between children. Some are very functional, others not so. It's a spectrum and as such there is no single approach which will suit every ASD child. Some can learn appropriate behaviour, some simply can't

3 dx does not by definition mean any allowances will be made. Some parents/teachers do excuse any and all bad behaviour as 'he can't help it', however most of us do not. There is autistic behaviour, and there is naughtiness. It is perfectly possible for a child with ASD to be naughty, have a tantrum, etc without it being ASD related... However it is part of parenting an ASD child to differentiate between 'bold' behaviour and ASD quirks which the child cannot prevent or control.

4 ASD is very often co-morbid with other conditions and dx can help with getting support for these, dyspraxia, dyslexia, hypermobility, spd, ADHD, to name but a few. Many of the issues faced by these children are physical as well as neurological, and require intervention

5 dx does not mean a child cannot, or should not, learn to function up.... In fact it is the entire reason for dx. We want our children to learn to function appropriately, many of the resources given to ASD children are to the sole aim of teaching better social, educational and behavioural functioning.

MumnGran Sat 18-May-13 20:57:25

Summer I bow to those like yourself & DD who offer an articulate perspective on their own experience of AS, and I have absolute respect for anyone fighting for the best outcomes for their child ...wherever they are on the spectrum.

There seems to be a feeling that I am saying early diagnosis is wrong. I am not ..... I said that it can be as bad as late diagnosis. Of course it depends on the parents/carers etc However, it was never my intent to upset anyone already struggling with young children who have major issues. I have been through that mill, and have considerable empathy with each of the points you raise. I will always believe that some parents do allow far more leeway than they should because they feel a diagnosis explains it all, but am not sufficiently het up about it to start contradicting people who are currently coping with raising an ASD child. There is too much stress already.

..... 'nuff said? smile

coconut49 Sat 18-May-13 21:01:48

Goggot - you said it's your DD's speech that is worrying you now. From your description it sounds like a problem with her spoken language skills. Apart from anything else, I would ask your GP or Health visitor to refer her to your local speech and language therapy service, who can do a full assessment. Is her understanding ok?

Fair enough mumngran smile we all have different perspectives when it comes to ASD and I certainly don't disagree with your point that a minority of carers do choose to use dx as an excuse not to try and improve behaviour rather than as the springboard to appropriate intervention it is intended for.

I know one family myself who decided CAMHS was 'a waste of time' and simply allow their ADHD son to run rampage, destroying property and injuring other children without repercussion as 'there's no point punishing him, he doesn't listen'

My own ds1 has ADHD and ASD and I know firsthand how difficult it is to get through to an child who's impulsive and doesn't understand consequences, but I keep trying, as do the vast majority of parents in my situation.

Goldmandra Sun 19-May-13 14:17:33

Then I feel guilty that by not getting her assessed I am being negligent because there are things I should be doing right now to give her all the tools she needs to get the most out of life.

If she has sufficient difficulties to get a diagnosis, chances are that there is support she could get which will make a difference to her future learning and development.

Take advantage of the fact that you could intervene early if necessary. DD1 was 12 before she was diagnosed and I would give an awful lot to be able to go back in time and get her support earlier in her life.

HotheadPaisan Sun 19-May-13 16:24:19

'My own ds1 has ADHD and ASD and I know firsthand how difficult it is to get through to an child who's impulsive and doesn't understand consequences, but I keep trying, as do the vast majority of parents in my situation.'

Summer, what do you do? We keep plugging away, but are compassionate too, but it just doesn't seem to sink in.

Not having huge amounts of success ourselves atm so I'm definitely no expert hothead.

Some consequences work for a short while (losing his 3ds/no tv etc) but his interests never last long so finding something he cares about enough is tricky. I always try talking him down if he's spiralling into as dangerously hyper mood, OT did some work with him on keeping his 'engine' from being too high to 'just right'... Sometimes works, often not. He has some modulated listening music that seems to help him unwind, and wrapping him in a blanket helps if I catch him early enough, if he's too hyper though it has the opposite effect.

For the most part I seem to be on damage control though, if he's being violent I restrain him (arms wrapped around him from behind, trying to give him some deep sensory input as well as hold him back) but he's getting too big and strong now, he did serious damage to me the other night as he's figured out if he switches between throwing himself backwards and slamming me into the wall, headbutting, scratching and biting me he wears me out fairly quickly.

I let a lot of things slide and mostly just focus on the violence tbh, I know he can control it as he mostly presents as ADD in school but he can't seem to hold it together once he gets home.

Kleinzeit Sun 19-May-13 17:14:34

*As an example I have personally witnessed: "Say thank you, Dean" .... silence from child, who moves to walk away....... Mum says "sorry about that, Dean has AS and doesn't like to socialise".
Having a child with no diagnosis, my response to the same behaviour would be (and was!!) to insist that the child stops moving away, and says thank you. Because I had no diagnosis for my DD, I made no allowances.*

Well that’s a lovely bit of black-and-white thinking MumnGran– either you force a child to interact or you apologise for them and then give up. But there are a lot of other possibilities, which neither you nor your daughter seem to know about. And I’m not blaming you or her for not knowing, 30 years ago Asperger’s Syndrome was more or less unheard of and people didn't have much idea what to do.

The fact that Dean did not thank you on one occasion does not mean his mother is not teaching him how (or that she will not start teaching him when he is ready). Many children with Asperger’s respond poorly to immediate instructions like “say thank you” due to processing delays and social panic. Some withdraw but others can get aggressive if pushed, you were lucky your DD didn't react like that. Instead those children need to be prepared in advance, using for example social stories to teach them when and how to thank people. It takes time to see a result.

Your daughter knows what it’s like to be raised without a diagnosis but she has never experienced what it’s like to be raised with one. She is only guessing.

Goldmandra Sun 19-May-13 17:30:57

*As an example I have personally witnessed: "Say thank you, Dean" .... silence from child, who moves to walk away....... Mum says "sorry about that, Dean has AS and doesn't like to socialise".
Having a child with no diagnosis, my response to the same behaviour would be (and was!!) to insist that the child stops moving away, and says thank you. Because I had no diagnosis for my DD, I made no allowances.*

My DD's both have a diagnosis of AS. If I ask them to do something it is because I am confident that they are capable of doing it. If it is an unreasonable ask I don't.

What you witnessed wasn't the result of a diagnosis it was a parent making a mistake. We all make them whether our children have disabilities or not.

Kleinzeit Sun 19-May-13 20:20:28

GoggotsandNanas It is tough to realise that our children's interesting and lovely quirks can be accompanied by real disabilities. Learning that there were things my son just couldn’t do and didn’t understand was very painful for me. It still is at times. But it didn’t make me value his strengths and his unusual abilities any less. DS is very persistent and does like to finish what he starts, which I admire because I tend to drop things! And if anything, it also made me value his “ordinary” achievements more highly, because for my DS they weren’t ordinary.

Fuzzymum1 Mon 20-May-13 12:15:49

We got a diagnosis for DS2 around 8yo - though we'd known for a while. I have always said that Asperger's is the reason for the way he behaves not an excuse for it - yes he has social issues (and if anything they are more obvious now he's 15) but I have always tried to ensure he uses the same manners and responds to people appropriately the same as I did with his older brother. We're just coming to the conclusion that DS3 who is 6 also has AS and are about to jump on the roller-coaster once again.

jojane Mon 20-May-13 13:59:29

It is hard to know where to draw the line and insist on an appropriate behaviour and when to let it slide, I have ds1 who is still in the process of assessment etc but lots of aspergers traits and then dd who doesn't at all and is the complete opposite as well as ds2 who is too young to know for sure but he seems pretty average so far. We try and treat them all the same and expect the same behaviour generally, manners etc but sometimes ds1 needs to managed in a different way to prevent a meltdown
. He hates birthday parties but we make him go to help his social skills and understanding, ir he will say yes to an invite and on the day refuse to go so we have to explain its rude to change your mind etc. he then will want to take a book (it was a dictionary on the weekend) but once we got there after all the moaning he then joined in with the water fight

I think that a dx shouldn't excuse behaviour but it does help you understand the behaviour and find ways to manage it and approach situations differently. Ie I can tell dd get your shoes on and she will do it straight away, but I have to give ds1 a 5 minute warning that he needs to get his shoes on so then when I then tell them both to get shoes on he's processed the request and prepared himself whereas before I would say get your shoes on when I actually wanted him to do it and then spend 5 min shouting at him to do it, which just wound both of us up.

My FiL shows a lot of aspergers traits but obviously being of a certain age never got diagnosed, he has to have a day to prepare himself for leaving the house etc, if we ring up to say can you babysit he hates it, of course he does it in an emergency but if not he will say no, I hadn't psyched myself up for going out today.

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